In a sharp reaction to the arrest of India’s Deputy Consul General Devyani Khobragade in US, traffic barricades were removed near the US embassy in New Delhi on Tuesday. The Government decided to remove all security barriers near the embassy on Nayaya Marg in New Delhi.
Delhi Police removed the security barricades set up outside American Embassy immediately after Government announced a slew of reprisal measures over the treatment meted out to India’s Deputy Consul General in New York Devyani Khobragade by the US authorities.
A number of cranes, deployed by Delhi police, removed the concrete barricades outside the Embassy at the diplomatic enclave in Chanakyapuri locality of central Delhi. The police also opened the Nyaya Marg for general traffic.
“The Ministry of External Affairs requested us to remove these traffic measures around the US Embassy and clear the road. The Nyaya Marg has been opened for public,” Special Commissioner of Delhi Police (Security) Taj Hassan said.
Additional Commissioner of Police (Traffic) Anil Shukla supervised the operation. The barricades around the Embassy were put in place as part of enhanced security.
Hassan, however, said the security to the Embassy will “remain same”.
The Government earlier announced a series of steps to strip US diplomats and their families of privileges including withdrawing all airport passes, and stopping import clearances for the Embassy.
The Government has also stopped all import clearances for the US Embassy including for liquor.
India has reacted sharply to the arrest of Khobragade who was handcuffed in public in New York on visa fraud charges last week.
India has also withdrawn all airport passes for US diplomats -both from Embassy and Consulates and even called for details including salaries paid to all Indian staff employed at the US consulates, including by Consulate officers and families such as domestic help. Government also seeks visa and other details of all teachers at US schools and pay and bank accounts of those of Indians in these schools.
Government further stopped all import clearances for the US embassy including liquor.
Earlier, Foreign Secretary Sujatha Singh summoned US Ambassador Nancy Powell and issued a demarche in this regard. The displeasure was also evident among leaders and
officials of Indian Government who cancelled their meetings with visiting US Congressional delegation.
Meanwhile, adopting a tough stand, BJP Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi on Tuesday cancelled his meeting with a senior US congressional delegation to mark a strong protest against the treatment meted out to India’s deputy consul general in New York.
Modi tweeted,”Refused to meet the visiting USA delegation in solidarity with our nation, protesting ill-treatment meted to our lady diplomat in USA.”
In a similar move, Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde and Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi too refused to meet the US delegation to lodge India’s protest.
Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar had on Monday cancelled her meeting with the delegation as she felt it was not “appropriate” to meet the Parliamentarians of the US, which has badly treated one of India’s senior diplomats.
National Security Advisor Shiv Shankar Menon, who also had a scheduled meeting with the five-member US team, did not meet them, apparently for the same reason.
The delegation comprised Congressmen George Holding (Republican – North Carolina), Pete Olson (Republican – Texas) David Schweikert (Republican – Arizona), Robert Woodall (Republican – Georgia) and Madeleine Bordallo (Democrat – Guam).
The repeated snubs came after India reacted sharply to deputy consul general Devyani Khobragade being arrested and handcuffed in public on visa fraud charges last week by summoning US Ambassador Nancy Powell and issuing a demarche in this regard.
In Washington also, the matter was taken up with the US Government “forcefully” through the Indian mission.
39-year-old Khobragade, a 1999-batch IFS officer, was taken into custody on a street in New York as she was dropping her daughter to school before being released on a $ 250,000 bond after pleading not guilty in court.